Blood-soaked Indonesian horror-thriller hybrid Killers apes the worst aspect of serial-killer dramas like Dexter and Hannibal by pretending that elaborately repulsive acts of violence are a form of psychoanalysis of murderers’ behavior.
Grueling scenes of torture only overstate the obvious ties that bind Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura), a slick Japanese yuppy and self-described killer, and Bayu (Oka Antara), a disgraced journalist and accidental slayer. The movie insists it’s their powerlessness that makes them murder. Nomura, a Patrick Bateman–esque psycho who slaughters defenseless women with mallets and baseball bats, attacks Bayu’s friends and enemies because he’s lonely and is convinced Bayu is a kindred spirit.
And Bayu clumsily dons a ski mask and shoots at associates of Dharma (Ray Sahetapy), a corrupt businessman Bayu tried (and failed) to publicly expose. Nomura’s casual cruelty and Bayu’s manic desperation are respectively established in repetitive, vomitous death scenes that revel in gross-out effects. Moreover, Nomura’s and Bayu’s crimes would be more compelling if co-directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre, V/H/S/2) showed us what their protagonists were either feeling or sublimating when they kill people. Instead, Stamboel and Tjahjanto express intensity through excessive gore, shaky camerawork, and deliberately unpolished sound design that makes choked screams and racked groans sound like they were recorded on tinny, RadioShack-quality microphones.
Amateurishly realized sensationalism trumps character-driven drama throughout Killers, so Nomura and Bayu become generically morbid sociopaths with way too much time, and blood, on their hands.